Painting the beauty of a Japanese garden.

Lower Pond – San Diego Japanese Friendship Garden, by artist Ronald Ray Reekers, oil on canvas.

How does one paint the beauty of a Japanese garden? The answer can be found at the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego’s Balboa Park.

“Visual Harmony in Japanese Gardens and the Beauty of Bonsai” is the title of the current exhibition in JFG’s Exhibit Hall.

Selected work by Southern California artist Ronald Ray Reekers is displayed, including oils, etchings, pastels and charcoal drawings.

What I found most interesting are written descriptions he provides of how to create bonsai and Japanese garden artwork. His art is driven by curiosity and passion.

If you’re an artist, you can visit his YouTube channel here. There are various technical demonstrations and lessons concerning Bonsai Drawing!

Shizuoka Shrine, by artist Ronald Ray Reekers, etching.
Viewing the art of Ronald Ray Reekers in the Exhibit Hall at the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Garden lantern, by artist Ronald Ray Reekers, oil on canvas.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Walking on a poem at UC San Diego.

A couple weekends ago, the day the San Diego Trolley’s Mid-Coast Extension opened, I got off the Blue Line and explored the area around the new UC San Diego Central Campus station. I noticed that a “plaza” beneath the elevated station was paved with lots of words and phrases that could be read in opposing directions.

Curious, I took photographs.

What I had discovered was just the beginning of an 800-foot-long “spine poem” titled CONCORDANCE that can be read while walking either way along the Rupertus Walk, which is under construction. This outdoor installation is by internationally renowned artist Ann Hamilton, and when finished will be the newest addition to UCSD’s Stuart Collection of public art.

According to this web page: “The pathway will be made from basalt blocks hewn with words and phrases drawn from the writings of authors from many disciplines, all associated with UC San Diego and the history of the site….

The Rupertus Walk will lead past the future Pepper Canyon Amphitheater. Here’s a photo of the path and amphitheater construction.

All of the photographs I took that historic Sunday the trolley’s Mid-Coast Extension opened can be found here.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Draco the dragon arrives in Balboa Park!

My friend Mitchell Walker, who plays the didgeridoo in San Diego’s beautiful Balboa Park, has an amazing new instrument!

A didgeridoo named Draco!

Draco means dragon–and this musical dragon can be made to stick its tongue out at passersby! Kids love it!

The dragon perched atop Mitchell’s new didgeridoo is made of molded resin. It was created by award-winning Southern California artist Kitty Cantrell. See her website here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

The amazing new Comic-Con Museum opens!

San Diego’s newest museum opened yesterday in Balboa Park. Today I walked through the door and enjoyed my very first visit to the amazing Comic-Con Museum!

The Comic-Con Museum is going to be another major attraction in San Diego. Even during this “soft opening” there are remarkable exhibits that include original, one-of-kind artifacts–artwork, costumes, props, rare documents and more–from the history of popular culture.

I walked about the three-level museum and and tried to take it all in. A variety of extraordinary exhibits are featured during this Grand Opening weekend, which coincides with Comic-Con Special Edition at the downtown San Diego Convention Center.

Please enjoy my photos and read the captions to learn a little more about the museum and its current exhibits.

And make sure to check out the Comic-Con Museum website here! Become a member like me and gain all sorts of exclusive benefits!

Almost 10 am when the doors open! The Comic-Con Museum occupies the historic Federal Building in Balboa Park, which years ago was home to the Hall of Champions. The building was created for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.
This is just the beginning! The Comic-Con Museum will continue to develop their space in the coming few years. The new museum promises to become ever more incredible.
Many generous donors and benefactors have helped to make the Comic-Con Museum a reality, including the David C. Copley Foundation and the Conrad Prebys Foundation.
The first exhibit I saw on the ground floor is called Art of the Comic-Con Masquerade. It celebrates the Comic-Con tradition of cosplay. These elaborate superhero costumes were made by fans!
My favorite exhibit is titled Gene Roddenberry: Sci-Fi Visionary. Original costumes, art and props are displayed from Star Trek. The life and creative genius of Roddenberry is remembered with his personal letters and more. This exhibit is so fantastic I’ll be blogging about it separately coming up!
Another substantial exhibit, Eight Decades of Archie, celebrates the cultural heritage of Archie Comics. I had no idea that Sabrina the Teenage Witch, before television, was a comic book series published by Archie Comics
Cardboard Superheroes were created by two local youth. Their cool creations debuted in the nascent Comic-Con Museum a couple years ago during Balboa Park’s December Nights.
Looking up at the second floor galleries. When the Federal Building was home of the Hall of Champions, the Breitbard Hall of Fame plaques decorated those upper walls.
Admiring original works of famed artist Charles Samuel Addams, who is probably best known for creating the Addams Family characters.
Looking down from the second level toward the museum entrance.
An inspirational exhibit is titled Out of the Darkness: Comic Art in the Times of COVID. Youth art created during the COVID-19 lockdown is featured. It is presented by A Reason To Survive (ARTS), an organization in National City that works to uplift young people.
Some really great art from San Diego’s South Bay community.
In one of the Comic-Con Museum’s classrooms is a creative work area. During the opening weekend, an exhibit here demonstrates the Cosplay Creator’s Lab.
If you’d like to support San Diego dreamers, fans and artists, here’s one way!
Sewing machine and dress.
Check out this incredible, wearable Grommash Hellscream costume! It was created by Mike Biasi.
In the lower level of the museum, near the auditorium, you’ll find another Art of the Comic-Con Masquerade display. These costumes were all part of past Comic-Con Masquerades.
And check this out! In one corner of the Comic-Con Museum, where the old Hall of Champions café used to be, there’s the PAC-MAN Arcade, complete with playable games and historical exhibits!
Designs, drawings and documents from back when Pac-Man was created, in 1980. A cultural icon (and Comic-Con Museum Character Hall of Fame inductee) was born!
Is this cool, or what?

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Bronze horse greets motorists in Bonita!

Earlier this year, a life-size bronze horse sculpture debuted in front of the Greg Cox Civic Complex in Bonita. I saw it for the first time when I walked down Bonita Road last weekend.

The horse sculpture has the unusual title WR This Cats Smart. It’s the name of an actual stallion. An identical sculpture can be found at a ranch in Douglas, Wyoming. The nationally renowned Western artist is Mehl Lawson.

San Diego County has one of the largest per capita populations of horses in the United States. I’ve read that at one time there were more than 1300 horses in Bonita. You can still them today in Rohr Park and in corrals throughout the residential hills. Many streets have names that are related to horses.

I took photographs of this beautiful public art and would like to share them.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Beautiful, unique mood lamps inspired by nature!

Check out this uniquely creative home decor idea!

A local San Diego artist has designed beautiful mood lamps that are perfect for any indoor room or outdoor patio. Why are they special? You can alter how they appear in a matter of seconds!

I love the original concept that makes these mood lamps so innovative. Their appearance can be completely changed by simply slipping on different fabric sleeves. Warm light shines through colorful symmetric designs that are inspired by the beauty of nature. In the dark they’re pure magic.

One can select lamps that are solar powered, battery powered, or plug-in. The soft light they emit slowly changes color, too!

I discovered these mood lamps today during a visit to the Talmadge Art Show at Liberty Station in Point Loma.

I love creativity, and how brilliant inventions like these can brighten one’s life.

The artist’s name is Julia Burnier. She happens to be really nice, too!

Check out her Eye-Catcher Designs website and the many beautiful, artistic sleeves that can decorate your mood lamp here!

Buy these very unique mood lamps at the artist’s online store by clicking here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Mural at Welcome Home in Lemon Grove.

There’s a beautiful new mural on the front of the Welcome Home Boutique & Art Space in Lemon Grove. I spotted it yesterday during a walk down Broadway near Grove Street.

The art is by muralist and social justice activist Mario Chacón. It was painted this year.

Included in the artwork is the image of migrant workers collecting fruit from citrus trees.

Lemon Grove used to be largely agricultural. It’s sunny climate is perfect for growing citrus. The San Diego Union newspaper in 1894 referred to Lemon Grove as “a sea of lemon trees.”

My adventure yesterday included a visit to the Lemon Grove Parsonage Museum, which is operated by the Lemon Grove Historical Society. I’ll be sharing those fascinating photos in the next few days!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Three large fish painted on 11th Avenue.

Those who sit waiting for a bus on the west side of the City College Transit Center might see three very large fish out of water. They’ve been painted on a wall facing 11th Avenue, a short distance north of Broadway!

I believe this mural was just finished. I see it was created by the prolific local artists of @ladieswhopaint and @pandrdesignco!

Downtown San Diego becomes more colorful every day!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Frankenstein’s monster lives in San Diego!

A few months ago Frankenstein’s monster came to life in downtown San Diego. I saw the awesome monster this afternoon when I stepped through the door of artist James Watts’ studio!

The creature, years in the making, now lives among other imaginative sculptures and works of art. I blogged about some of that artwork a short while ago here.

Frankenstein’s monster has a skin made of hammered aluminum. He’s covered with images cut from old lunchboxes, advertisements, and other odd things. When the innocent monster was assembled and jolted into life, it appears his skin rapidly absorbed impressions from the world he was born into.

James Watts wants viewers of his art to make their own discoveries. Each block that composes the monster’s body is numbered. The two hemispheres of the brain include the word NO or YES. One includes the moon, the other the sun. He showed me several other cleverly arranged images. I saw fun word play.

The sculpture is like a giant jigsaw puzzle or visual poem. All is open to interpretation.

The heart of the Frankenstein monster is made of three pieces that fit together. One piece represents love, another lust, another the mind.

I saw several superheroes and cartoon characters on the monster’s skin, parts of old advertisements, and multiple instances of the Three Stooges.

What do you see?

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

The storytelling blocks of artist James Watts!

One of the most wonderfully creative artists in San Diego has a little-known studio downtown. His name is James Watts.

I blogged about my first visit to his amazing studio several years ago here.

Today I was walking home after a long adventure (many blogs coming up) when I saw his studio door was open. And there he was working away! Hammering at flat pieces of printed aluminum, making colorful storytelling blocks!

What are storytelling blocks? They feature images from human experience on different sides–such as night on one side and day on the other. You can flip them any which way, then insert them into a wooden box with fixed compartments! These visual stories are like small treasures or keepsakes. Dreamlike, they are open to interpretation.

He also showed me his Box of Yes and No (that uses words from different languages and a couple of eyeballs) and a shelf full of storytelling cubes. Plus lots of other cool artwork!

His fantastic Frankenstein monster that debuted earlier this year is so cool it’s coming up separately on my next blog post!

I love the unlimited energy and joy of life that flows from James Watts’ hands. His art is primarily about storytelling. His studio is also filled with large sculptures based on Japanese kokeshi. The sculptures creatively depict Don Quixote, Prometheus, Jonah, Pandora, Joan of Arc, and a whole host of diverse characters from literature.

He told me some of his storytelling pieces will be in a future exhibition at the Oceanside Museum of Art. So you might be getting a little bit of a preview here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!